Last time we were together I focused on the wives now we switch to Husbands.Then it says in verse 25 “Husbands , love your wives as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her.”While the wife is supposed to submit and this is particularly written because the wife has a tendency to want to be in the position of the authority, the husband who is in authority in the household tends not to love his wife. The high standard that God calls husbands to love their wife is the same way Jesus Christ loves the Church. The global Church is the universal body of believers of whom Christ died for. The Church is all those who have been called by God, and who have been illuminated by Him to repent and turn away from sin and trust in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. All people have sinned. Scripture says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:13 says “none is righteous no not one.” The punishment for sin is hell. Scripture says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.”This death is not just a physical death but the idea of death in the original Greek carries that of separation. Those who have not trusted in Christ will not only be separated from their physical bodies, but from God for eternity in a place called Hell. Yet, The Lord says “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God is offering a gift. This gift is free. There is nothing you can do to earn it it must be taken from God. This gift is taken from God by trusting in Him.
Romans 10:12-13 says “But if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.”This belief is not simply a belief about Jesus that He existed or even that He is God. This belief “confesses with your mouth that Jesus is Lord”; that is sovereign, in complete control, and Lord of your personal life. This Lordship must mean that a person must repent of their sins, turn away from them and trust in Him.
Ephesians 2:10-12 says “By grace you have been saved, as a gift, not by works, but through faith, and this is also not of yourself so that no one may boast.” We have been saved by grace, God’s de-merited favor, something that we do not deserve, and something that we can never earn, nor that we will ever be able to pay back. This grace is provided through faith, the channel with which God works His grace. This faith is not your own either. We are called to this faith and all those who are called by God respond to His calling in saving faith. It is not by works. Romans says “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” and again in Romans “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in God’s sight since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
People may say this is unloving, but a God who does not punish sin is not perfectly just, and a God that is not perfectly just is not perfectly loving. Yet God is perfectly just and satisfied His wrath by placing His sins upon His Son and by imputing His righteousness upon those who have trusted in Him; justifying us or legally declaring us righteous. He loved us so much that even while we were dead in our trespasses, (Eph 2:1) following satan (eph 2:2) were children of wrath (eph 2:3) , set our minds upon sin (rom 8:5) and did not even seek for Him (rom 3:11), he died for us. God incarnate humbled Himself even to death on a cross (Phil 2:8), and husbands are commanded to love their wives that very same way.
The way we should love our wives is again, in the agape sense that is a self sacrificial love, not dependent upon what the person has done for us but on our choosing to love them. It is an action not based on the circumstances but on us choosing to love them.
This love is a submissive love as is all love a submissive love or a servants love. Just as the wife is supposed to submit to the husband, the husband is supposed to have a submissive attitude, providing and looking after his wife’s best interests. That, again is why is says in verse 21 ‘we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ’. If The Lord Jesus Christ submitted himself to the brutality of the Cross, and separation from the Father, how much more should we have this loving, submissive, servants attitude towards our wives. This love should make every attempt to provide for all her emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs. This love should lead her into what is best for her. Just as Christ loves us and provides for our needs and does things so that we also grow; or as an earthly king does not brandish his scepter like a tyrant, so also should we love our wives.
Verse 26 explains why He has this love towards His Church and that is “that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word”. Christ designed the Church so that it would be ‘set apart’, and grow in Christ-likeness, Christian maturity, continually repenting of sin, and growing in obedience to the things that Christ wants for our lives. That is why chapter 5 speaks again, of those who heard the gospel as having permanently ‘put off our old self’ and now to ‘put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness.’ The Lord did not just save us so that we could live a life of spiritual apathy towards Him. Nor would that be possible since sanctification is not the work of man but the Lord’s work. Each Christian should be growing in fruits of the Spirit and becoming more and more like Christ. Romans 6:22 says “But now you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and it’s end, eternal life.” We as Christians have been set free from sin and are currently being sanctified. This is done through the indwelling Holy Spirit changing us ‘by the washing of water with the word’. Those who are Christians should have an appetite to read the word. The Word of God is what works in the heart for a believers sanctification. One cannot simply grow outside the word of God. Trying to work in the flesh what should be done by the Holy Spirit is impossible and vain. (Gal 3:3) It should be a constant theme in our lives that we should be meditating, reading, and listening to the word. The question of your own personal salvation should be raised when a desire to commune with the God whom you claim you’ve trusted in is non-existent. Psalm 51 refers much to the believers sanctification.
He says in verse 2 ‘Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!’ Verse 7 says ‘purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.’ Verse 10 says ‘Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me’. These all point to the Lord’s work, not ours. Each Christian should be exercising spiritual discipline, watching our thoughts, actions, speech, doing those good works which God has prepared before hand and mortifying sin but understanding that we can not do it by ourselves or in our flesh but that it is God who works in us.
This setting apart and sanctifying’s end result is presented in verse 27 when It says “So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing that he might be holy and without blemish.” We know that someday because it is The Lord that sanctifies us, it is also The Lord that glorifies us and that this body of death will one day be transformed into a body like Jesus Christ.
Just as Christ’s love is a continually sanctifying and purifying love so should our love towards our wives stand to be the very same thing. A selfish attitude or parts of our lifestyle that cause the wife to sin is no love at all. Love does not encourage evil which is precisely why The Lord has this love towards us. Christian husbands should lead by example, exercising God given spiritual discipline in all areas. The godly attitudes and actions that we wish our wives to have should characterize our life. Furthermore, as leaders we should set time aside each day to read the Scripture with her, and to pray with her. Each Christian husband should be striving first and foremost out of a relationship with God to have an in depth and rich understanding of a God and His word. But more than that, it is so that we have the capacity to teach our wives. We do not want to lead her astray by incorrect doctrine or thoughts in Scripture. Scripture even makes the reference in 1 Corinthians 14:35 when it says ” if there is anything they (wives) desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home.” A good husband who wants a sanctified wife will lead a sanctified life.
Verse 28-30 in Ephesians then continues to say “in the same way husbands love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the Church because we are members of His body.”
Each person has a built in nature to care for all facets of his being. A person that loves himself will make sure it has the proper, food, clothing, and shelter. It will make sure it has proper companionship. It will tend to his or her spiritual needs through the Word of God and prayer. Each husband should love his wife the same way he loves himself. This is an analogy of the same way Christ loves the Church. The Church, being Christ’s body is loved by Christ himself. We are in a spiritual union with Him in a similar way that we are one flesh with our wives and husbands.
The world has a small movement going on called ‘self love’. I see people on social media posting things where they pamper themselves buying the latest gadget, wearing the most expensive new clothes, etc. as a proud badge of their new, yet twisted and deceived idea that if you put yourself first and supply every want for yourself you will be happy. What it really should be defined as is self centered and self worship where they “worship and serve the creature rather than the creator” (Romans 1:25). This self love has no value in it except in which to dull the senses and to chew up time on temporary things.
Self love is not what I want, nor what would make me feel good.
What feels good now can lead you to the depths of hell. Self love is not using your time in what will satisfy your fleshly desires most; but will benefit God’s kingdom. Self love does not provide your every single earthly want, but will do its best to provide your earthly needs. Self love does its best to avoid suffering when faced with a problem but does not flee from the problem just to avoid suffering, for all men must suffer. Self love does not just focus on the physical body, nor is its main motives when dealing inward strictly with the superficiality of its emotions; but if dealing with emotions such as fear or sorrow consoles itself with the fact that each suffering in the inward being regarding his or her perceived negative emotions is doled out from the sovereign hand of God and thinks of it it as a cross to bear, not focusing in the emotion itself. C.s Lewis speaks poignantly about fear which could be swapped out for a multitude of emotions “on the other hand fear becomes easier to master when the patients mind is diverted from the thing feared to fear itself, considered as a present and undesirable state of his own mind; and when he regards the fear as his appointed cross he will inevitably think of it as a state of mind”. Self love looks past perceived negative emotions into the inner being of the person and looks at his character. He does not look at himself with some sort of self-aggrandizement, talking himself up into how good he is, but if he was honest with himself would see the state of his sorry character and cry out to God for mercy. The most important act a man could do if he truly loved himself was to put his trust in The Lord Jesus Christ to be saved from that which would destroy both soul and body. Furthermore, a man who is saved and who loves himself would see that no moral progress could be done by himself but only by the work of God. True self love does not focus inward but focuses outward towards God and allows him to work in you for we could never do anything that has any eternal value on our own. True self love Loves God.
Furthermore, a marriage based on being ‘in love’, or having some sort of intense emotional attraction is not the same as love. Plenty of people marry for this and plenty of people have bad marriages or ended marriages because of it. Being in love is transient. It doesn’t last and the flames of that emotional high will eventually die out and what will be left is ashes.
I’ve asked a lady once if your child asked you “what is love towards your husband then how would you define it”? She said “Well, love is a feeling that you have towards someone.” and trailed off. I said trying to think of the best way you could describe this agape love towards her in a way that she could comprehend; “If your child was completely obnoxious and loud for the first 18 years of his life would you still love him”? She said “of course, that is my child”. I then said “If your child stole money from you would you still love him?”. She said “yes, I’d be disappointed in him but I’d still love him”. I then said, “if your child was a heroine addict and you found out, would you still love him?” She said “yes, I’d still love him”. I then said to her, “So you’d love him unconditionally?” She said yes and I said “If you love your child unconditionally why can’t you love your husband unconditionally?” She was thoughtful and contemplative for a few moments and then she replied “Well that’s different, the child is family.”
Such is the plight of our society that people have confused emotional attraction for love and barely understand the concept of their spouse being family. Do not choose your spouse based on the concept of what shouldn’t be called being In love but emotional attraction, oftentimes also being confused as lust. Choose your husband or wife based upon the Scriptures. Obviously it is good to be attracted to your spouse but attractions fade. It is good to have emotional attraction, but also think logically about if this person matches up with what the scripture says. I’ve seen plenty of people married based on this attraction and nothing else.
C.S Lewis states “In the first place, humans who do not have the gift of continence can be deterred from seeking marriage as a solution because they do not find themselves “in love”, and thanks to us, the idea of marrying with any other motive seems to be low and cynical. Yes, they think that. They regard the intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life, as something lower than a storm of emotion.”
In other words the vast majority of people in Western culture will marry based on the sole purpose of being in love and nothing else. Not realizing that loyalty, partnership, preservation of chastity, and transmission of life are also very strong emotions and very viable reasons to marry. Don’t make the mistake of marrying for the sole purpose of marrying for what the culture defines as being in love.
It says in verse 31 and 32 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.” Therefore referring to the preceding Verse where it says to love your wife as yourself just as Christ loves the Church because we are members of his body; “likewise a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, for the two shall become one flesh.”
Just as the Christian and Church are one, so are husband and wife. They are not independent entities anymore but they are somehow, in ways we can’t fully describe, one flesh. This mystery, which wasn’t fully revealed till New Testament times, is now clearly understood. Marriage is meant to represent Christ and the Church.
Marriages, especially new ones, often have turmoil because people do not understand that they now have new priorities. Our main priorities are not towards our mother and father anymore but toward our husband and wife. Yes, we should honor our father and mother, take care of them when they are older and obviously still talk to them and help them. Yet, we are to leave our father and mother and hold fast to our wives and husbands. We create a new family and put that spouse first, not our parents.
This one flesh also involves a sexual union. It is my belief that we have failed largely and displayed a lack of courage when defending God’s commands for sexuality and we are now currently reaping the consequences. Lust is barely a sin mentioned in churches and it is completely tolerated. What’s worse, is because we have allowed this sin to go unchecked and swept under the rug many people feel that lust is okay and go along with the cultures view of lust and pornography.
At age 11 the average child has already been exposed to pornography. 57% of young adults admit to seeking out porn once a month. 96% of young adults are either encouraging, neutral or accepting in their views of pornography and 80% of pornography users feel no guilt when viewing it. If 57% of young adults admit to seeking out pornography and 96% of young adults are accepting of pornography I would be fearful to see what the statistics look like in the church.
This lustful attitude and culture saturated in pornographic content should not be in the church, should be repented of, and firmly stood against.
This type of sin in the church, ruins marriages, causing sexual expectations to be completely mythical and destroys God’s intention for sexual union. It causes whichever spouse has been victim to this to lose trust in their other spouse, oftentimes causing an irreparable rift in the marriage. Lastly, it causes the victim to not feel loved, attractive, or appreciated by his or her partner.
We need to affirm the truth and hold each other accountable for the truth stated in Mathew 5:26-28. “You have heard that it was said ‘you shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent had already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Lust and the viewing of pornography is a grievous sin which Jesus Christ says is committing adultery in the heart. This sin should be despised and abhorred. My prayer is that the church would be bold on defending this important truth for the preservation of the family, but more importantly for God’s glory.
Furthermore, sexual immorality and impurity runs rampant in our culture. Churches tend to bat a blind eye when it comes to fornication and do not speak out when young people are living together outside the bounds of marriage. We have moved along with this culture instead of standing and speaking the truth in love against it. Have we forgotten what it says in Galatians 5:19 that sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality are works of the flesh and that those who continually and persistently sin in these areas more than likely have not truly repented and trusted in Jesus Christ and will not ‘inherit the kingdom of God’. As we bat a blind eye people in the church are deceived into thinking that they are right with God. People outside the church see no difference In what we preach and their moral standards and also do not understand the dire repercussions of this sin. We, as the entire body of Christ have become slack and I fear a great many people have been deceived into thinking it’s ok.
The atheistic culture thinks of this as primarily a biological function between two animals even though an honest heart would claim otherwise. Many hearts have been broken and many emotional attachments have been formed. Why are emotional attachments like this formed even though the world touts this as a merely biological? Because when the two form a sexual union they become one flesh. Accept for the most sociopathic person I would be hard pressed to find someone that says they do not feel any sort of attachment towards the other person. Many other ripples have been formed in this culture through the deviation of God’s truth. Std’s run rampant. Many people have kids outside of wedlock on which only a single parent raises the child. Many children do not experience the firm leading hand of their father or the nurturing care of there mother thus not receiving the full benefits of both parenting styles from a man and woman. I rarely hear of a person my age who had a kid through a marriage relationship. More than that, just like pornography, your spouse has to compete with expectations that cannot be matched through previous relationships.
1 Corinthians 6:13 says ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food and God will destroy both one and the other.” The Corinthians would say much like the pagans ‘food is meant for the stomach and the stomach is meant for food’. In other words, sex is merely a biological function just like eating and drinking. Paul says in the same verse though ” The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for The Lord and The Lord for the body.” Our bodies are for The Lord. Our bodies are not meant to indulge in sexual immorality. Verse 15-16 says “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members with a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For as it is written ‘the two shall become one flesh.” Those who commit fornication become one flesh and are joined to the person to whom they have slept with. Yet our bodies are members of Christ. “The Lord is for the body and the body is for The Lord.” Verse 17 says “But he who is joined to The Lord becomes one spirit with Him” And verse 19 says “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Fornication is wrong and as Christians we are joined in spirit to God and the Holy Spirit indwells in us. Shall we sin against The Lord such a sin when we were brought with such a high price? Glorify God in your body and flee from sexual immorality. To glorify sex above God and to be indulging in fornication is nothing short of spiritual idolatry in which The Lord says to Hosea depicting Israel’s spiritual idolatry “Plead with your mother, plead for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband- that she put away her whoring from her face and her adultery from between her breasts…upon her children I will also have no mercy because they are children of whoredom. For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool, and my flax and my oil.’”
Not only that but divorce is common in the culture. The Church does not speak out against it accept for a select few even though the scripture clearly says in Luke 5:31 “It was also said ‘whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife except on the grounds for sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
You see, just as today people would get a divorce for any and all reasons The Lord allowed The Israelites during Moses time to get divorces. in Ch 19 vs 8 of Mathew Jesus says “because of the hardness of your heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you; whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery. What therefore God has joined together let no man seperate” Let no man seperate the God ordained union of one man and one woman and let us as a church speak out against it, and not only that but do everything we can to help those with struggling marriages and also keep our own marriages intact.
Finally all this movement in the culture has infiltrated our church and caused many liberal churches not to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that somehow homosexuality is okay.
Many may say “You are unloving, bigoted, and hateful.” I would immediately say how so, on what authority do you stake your claims? On the ebbing tides of a shifting culture in which homosexuality is lauded and then struck down as something sinful; who is right? If you base your opinion on sheer numbers of the population then what about other parts of the world where it is frowned upon? Would you say that they are wrong or you are wrong? In the shifting sands of culture sexuality has changed throughout the years in which the Greeks encouraged homosexuality, and up until just recently the general consensus was that it is wrong. The morality of this culture is what is right in our own eyes with no regard for God.
Even so the general population may believe in a god but it does not believe in the God. It is a mystic god and everyone, especially in today’s age, have their own opinion on this god and all opinions are correct. If all opinions are correct then why is The Christian God struck down? Cultures morality, and it’s views upon God shift and change. We emerge form a time not to far back where sex outside of marriage was frowned upon and to have a child out of wedlock was something to be ashamed of to sexual decadence in the 21 century in which all morality is thrown out the window and everything goes.
In this low,base representation of God in this culture many people point to scientific theory as the end all be all of all discussion and argument. There are many who hold this to the highest esteem. Then I would point to Romans 1 where the scriptures says “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions for their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature and their men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” In a naturalistic, atheistic, evolutionistic world view that is exactly how a sexual relation between one man and woman would be thought of as; natural. What does every species want to do in this world? Survive. Animals procreate to survive. So any mutation that that interferes with the procreative process would be seen as genetically inferior. Why would this atheistic culture uphold something that is contrary to nature when it is a detriment to the survival of our species? Because the world loves sin and they will do anything to advocate their sin as morally correct even though their worldview displays the exact antithesis of the morality being preached. Obviously I speak as the Devils advocate, or from a different point of view, not that I believe what I just stated, that somehow homosexuals are genetically inferior, but that is what the world should believes if it upholds this atheistic, evolutionstic viewpoint.
Yet the Christian upholds that which is God ordained as revealed through His Word and through the common functions of nature. So, are we unloving? Or is our God unloving? Well, does love think good of evil? No it does not. Love must be just otherwise it is no love at all. To commend evil can’t be loving. We must point the truth out in love, in which God says these things are evils and point them to a Savior who bore the full wrath of our sins upon that Cross and justified us. He is perfect love and perfect justice, doing all for the Christian.
Furthermore, the world says “do not judge” but all scripture points to the hypocritical self righteous judgement in which we are not to judge. That does not mean that we form no opinion, or do not speak against the evils of this world. Scripture calls us to be discerners of good and evil. Ephesians 5:10 says and ‘try to discern what is pleasing to The Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.’
The sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman and the one fleshedness it entails is vitally important for the church and family unit. So how can we help those who are struggling with these issues? Again, preach the truth in love. Hebrews 4:12 states ” For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Word of God is what will convict both the unsaved and the saved.
Secondly we need to remember as it says in Psalm 51 “against you and you only have I sinned’.”All sins are directly against God. We should be asking for God to ‘create in us a clean heart, give us an abhorrence of sin, and the ability to repent. For Christians we need to remind ourselves that our identity is in Christ an nothing else. For a world that is so focused on sex it worships it and it becomes their identity and their fulfillment. 1st Corinthians says we are again ‘joined to Him and have become one spirit with Him.’ Let us preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday, and be thankful He redeemed us through His death and ressurection for all who have trusted in Him.
Secondly, many people identify intimacy as sex with their wife, husband. Which it is, but that is not the only form of intimacy and wives and children are not the only family for believers. For those who are single and struggle with loneliness, or the desire to be married let us remember that we have the Body Of Christ; the Church which is our family. Mathew 12:49-50 says “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Let us then therefore treat all members of the Church as family, and not just as people we see on Sunday for an hour.
Thirdly, in this culture particularly relating to homosexuality but also applied to fornication, pornography and lust, the phrase ‘I was born this way’ is a common argument to refute God’s ordination of marriage. If I was indeed born this way then it must not be wrong for how could God create me this way, right? Let us remember that God is not evil but he is truly perfect good, and truly perfect righteousness, and truly and perfectly just. Nor does he tempt with evil and therefore cannot create evil. He created us innocent in the garden yet when Adam ate of the Tree of Good and Evil he sinned against God and since then all of us have inherited his sin nature. Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all man because all have sinned”. We have all inherited Adam’s sin nature and we have been sinful since birth. Psalm 51 says ‘in sin did my mother conceive me.’ Even if we were born with dispositions towards certain sins it does not negate the fact that it is still sin. We see this viewpoint in many other areas when someone says ‘He has his father’s drinking problem’ or ‘He has his father’s temper’, or He is a player like his father’. Well he is an angry,drunken, fornicator. We don’t condone those things nor should we condone this. From birth we have dispositions towards certain sins and God holds us accountable for those sins. We must point that even though it seems right in to a man, it’s end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12). ‘for the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it?’ (Jeremiah 17:9) .We must point to a God who knows our hearts, set the standard for morality, and who judges the secrets of the heart. Only with The Lord working in our heart and the Word can we fully understand the magnanimity of our sin and the extent it runs in us. Only with The Lord illuminating our hearts and minds with the with Word are we able to see particular sins in which we sin against God.
Verse 33 In summation says ‘However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she submits her husband. ‘ Ultimately, the bottom line is, wives are supposed to submit to their husbands and husbands are supposed to love their wives. The submissiveness to the husband should be despite what the husbands character is, but doing so out of ‘reverence for Christ.’ Husbands are supposed to love their wives with Self sacrificial agape love in the same way ‘Christ loves the church and gave himself up for Us’ even when it isn’t convenient or desirable to.